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Scrapping JEE format will dilute IIT brand: Online poll

The Indian Institutes of Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development have arrived at a compromise formula.

Written by Mihika Basu | Published: July 27, 2012 12:29 am

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) have arrived at a compromise formula on the new entrance test but an online poll among IIT Bombay alumni,faculty and students reveals that 89 per cent believe scrapping the current Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) format will eventually dilute brand IIT,even as 78 per cent have voted against the current structure of JEE reforms.

The results of the poll,conducted by the IIT Bombay Alumni Association (IITBAA),had been submitted to the IIT Bombay senate that met on Wednesday to pass a resolution on the new compromise formula for admission to the IITs. IITBAA said though the poll was started before the compromise formula was arrived at,there was no noticeable change in the voting pattern even afterward.

“In the wake of the IIT Council decision to change the JEE format,the IITBAA initiated a survey on the issue to solicit alumni opinion and provide visibility to alumni viewpoints… We received 1,800 responses from not just IIT Bombay alumni,student and faculty but also a fair number of other IITs as well,” said Damayanti Bhattacharya,chief operating officer,IITBAA.

According to the survey,78 per cent said they did not support the ministry decision to create a two-tier common entrance test as a reasonable compromise between the desires of MHRD and maintaining the meritocracy of IITs. “It shows that an overwhelming majority of respondents have voted against the current structure of JEE reforms. Though the poll was initiated before the IIT Council meeting on June 27 (when the compromise formula was approved),voting continued even afterward with no appreciable change in the voting pattern. Even after the compromise formula was okayed,people continued voting against the reforms as they wanted to send out a message that education should be entirely left out of politics and decisions affecting academics are best taken by academicians. They wanted to give the message that there shouldn’t be political interference even in future,” said Bakul Desai,director,board of directors,IITBAA.

Significantly,93 per cent said the MHRD move was an act that “subverted” the autonomy of IITs. Further,50 per cent had a problem with both the solutions proposed (changes in JEE) and the process followed in getting there (bypassing and undermining the senates,IIT Act and statutes). Among faculty,82 per cent said they had problems with both. The findings will be published in the July edition of the alumni magazine,Fundamatics.

The alumni association and IIT Bombay Heritage Fund (in the US) have come out with an official statement based on the poll results,which said the IIT Bombay alumni felt IITs should function as autonomous institutions with control over all aspects of their academics,including the selection process.

“The IIT Bombay alumni believe that admission should be based on a rigorous common entrance examination administered by IITs that also expands opportunities for all sections of society. Any changes or modifications in JEE format should adhere to these guiding principles and any future modifications to it should also continue to adhere to these principles and be at the sole prerogative of the institution itself,” Desai said.

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